Private Project

The Business of Good: Young Africa Rising

How can business be a force for positive social change?

THE BUSINESS OF GOOD follows 25 young African entrepreneurs as they spend six weeks in the United States, learning about social entrepreneurship and working passionately to bring their business ideas to life.

Based at the University of Notre Dame on a State Department-sponsored fellowship, they live together on one floor of a dorm, where they must confront their own cultural differences as they learn, compete, and collaborate.

The fellows each bring experience in critical fields, from business to medicine, agriculture to information technology, women’s rights to economic equality. Each is among the brightest young minds in their country, holding an idea with the potential to drive tremendous progress and development, if their startups are successful.

Through their time in the US, the fellows come face to face with the complexity of American society. They watch as the Supreme Court rules on same-sex marriage, South Carolina lowers the Confederate flag, and rioters clash with police in Ferguson, Missouri. They experience racism first hand. As they visit Detroit, Chicago, Indianapolis and Washington D.C., they forge connections with leaders in American business, community, and government. Most importantly, they come to rely on each other, forming a community reaching toward a shared goal.

THE BUSINESS OF GOOD is the inspiring story of a new generation of social entrepreneurs. It is a look at the United States from a fresh perspective, and the ways in which each of us shape the world to come. It is a story of hope, perseverance, and our shared global future.

  • Tom Lietz
    Second Shift
  • Tom Lietz
    Second Shift
  • Melinda Weisberg
  • Peter Contardo
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    40 minutes 52 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    February 20, 2016
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
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Director Biography - Tom Lietz

Tom Lietz is a hands-on storyteller. Over the past 15 years he has led production efforts on various feature films, shorts, and other pieces for commercial and non-profit clients.

This is his second full-length documentary. His first, the Emmy-nominated "Second Shift: From Crisis to Collaboration," is currently in distribution via public television.

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Director Statement

The young African entrepreneurs featured in this film are passionate and resilient people with incredible credentials. They are each well established, but still leaning forward toward their futures with daring and persistence. In order to participate in the six-week Mandela Washington Fellowship featured in this film, they had to step away from homes and jobs (in some cases quitting those jobs entirely) in order to make a leap toward their startup ideas and this fellowship experience.

That’s a tremendous risk, only multiplied by the vulnerability of signing on to a documentary project at such a critical time. I appreciate the trust of the University of Notre Dame, Bisk, MessageMakers, and of course the fellows themselves throughout this production. Without that trust, this film never would have happened.

Because our story begins before the start of the fellowship, I first met some of the fellows over Skype. That was an interesting combination of epic and ordinary: having a very normal conversation with someone over great distance, albeit with sometimes varying connection quality. It felt like they were very far away and yet also could have been down the street, which made me feel like the geography of my world was collapsing.

It was inspiring for me to get to know the people featured in this film. I appreciate our connection, and hope that this film will be a connecting and inspiring experience for the audiences who are able to see it, too.